Follow us on Twitter

TAUNTON, MA – A CSX train derailed in Taunton MA on June 1, 2011 where thieves made off with a section of railroad track apparently for the steel.

CSX official looking at derailed engine sitting in the dirt and a section of track that was cut away by thieves in Taunton, MA on Wednesday, June 1, 2011. Detail clearly shows that a cutting torch was used in the crime. Photo credit: Charles Winokoor/Taunton Gazette

Taunton is located in Bristol County, Massachusetts in the southern part of the state about 38 miles south of Boston.

In this callous act, two eight-foot sections of rail were stolen and caused an engine to jump the tracks and become mired in dirt.

The train was on its way with a delivery to a food service distributor in an industrial area of Taunton. It was pulling two rail cars and another engine in the rear at the time. The accident happened around 1:30 p.m.

Map of Taunton, MA where a CSX train derailed on June 1st, following the theft of a section of railroad track.

Police are investigating the crime, which could have been very serious, but, luckily, no railroad workers were hurt and no one else was injured and no hazardous materials were spilled as a result.

The Taunton Daily-Gazette website reports:

Regarding the train:

“It stopped a little too late and derailed — it just dropped down on both sides,” CSX trainmaster Mark Smith said of the four-axle GP40 engine that was pulling two cars and a rear engine.

The engine’s front wheels landed astride the tracks, but neither it nor the other engine and two cars, tipped over. The rear engine, with the two cars in tow, by late Wednesday managed to pull away, leaving the front engine mired in the dirt among shards of shattered railroad ties.

Investigators are dismayed at the thoughtless actions that could have cost lives. In this incident, the train happened to be moving slowly, and it wasn’t the main line. If this had happened on a main line with a fast moving passenger train like the MBTA or Amtrak, it could have been a lot more serious.

Investigators believe that at least two people were involved in the incident because the sections of rail that were removed would have weighed about 900 lbs each.

It was obvious that the thieves used an acetylene torch to cut the rails. Investigators could see the cutaway parts of the remaining rails and tell that this was the case. Small, portable cutting rigs with bottles of oxygen and acetylene are very common in welding shops, repair shops, scrap yards and wrecking yards.

Hopefully, no reputable scrap yard will ever buy railroad steel because there’s no way to tell if it’s been stolen and a reputable dealer would not want to encourage this kind of thing.

Officials estimated that it would take 3 to 4 days to repair the damage.

Published by FELA lawyer news blog at Gordon, Elias & Seely, LLP.

Comments are closed.

Search Blog
Social Portals
My Zimbio